NEWS

UWI guild calls on Caribbean governments to revisit anti-gay laws.

2016/01/17 09:32 PM

By: Jeff

The Inter Campus Guild Council (ICGC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has called for a review of the buggery laws regionally, during a press conference held last Friday at the Mona campus.

The discussion fall on the heels of media reports of guidance counsellors avoiding homosexual students in Jamaica.

It was reported in the Jamaica Gleaner that newly elected president of the Jamaica Association for Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE), Nina Dixon, has raised concerns that several of the approximately 800 guidance counsellors that work in schools are refusing to offer counsel to students that identify as gay or lesbian. Dixon believes that the number of gay students are growing and counsellors are not equipped to deal with these students.

President of the UWI, Cave Hill Guild of Students Dalano DaSouza said that the ICGC's position is that these laws are archaic and need to be looked at and brought in line with values such as non-discrimination, sexual orientation and different fundamental human rights individuals are entitled to.

"Each government in the region ought to make a conscientious decision to review these laws with a look towards streamlining them in such a way that no individual in the country is disenfranchised," he said.

Traverse Banton, post graduate representative for the St Augustine Campus said that while buggery is still illegal for some Caribbean countries, shunning a student can damage him psychologically, which would prevent him from coming for assistance with other issues he might have. Instead, he said, guidance counsellors should think about the holistic development of the student and build on that.

Guild President of the St Augustine Open Campus Aneka Lee said that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to enjoy the basic human right, which if denied in the form of shunning by counsellors, can be psychologically scarring.

Davianne Tucker, guild president of the Mona campus, added that before we get to the end result of somebody living in some big grassland with a makeshift kind of roof, we need to deal with it at this point and have active representation in terms of the support being given to some of these students. (Jamaican Observer)

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